After Soft Tissue Grafts
Do not disturb the wound. Avoid forcefully rinsing, spitting or touching the wound on the day of surgery.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for the first 24 hours. Keep your head elevated slightly rather than lying flat. Vigorous rinsing and forceful spitting tend to prolong or increase bleeding. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues please call our office. After working hours, be sure to call the emergency number provided to you.
You will have a schedule provided by us on how to take your medications. This is an important part of your recovery process. Take medications with a full glass of water at room temperature. For most medications, it is preferable to have food before taking. Let us know if any of the medications disagree with you in any way.
You should begin taking your prescribed pain medication within an hour following surgery. Our physicians usually recommend an alternating schedule between two analgesic (pain controlling) medications. You should have a customized schedule on how to take your medications. Do not take any medication if you are allergic or if you have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.
If you had sedation during your procedure, the IV site could become sore. Warm, moist heat applied to the injection area can help. If you have other problems or the condition worsens, please let us know so we can help.
Be sure to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed. Do not take any medication if you are allergis or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. If you are childbearing age and are on birth control pills, know that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness. Please take additional birth control precautions if this is the case.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The night of surgery, use the prescribed mouth rinse before bedtime. The day after surgery, the rinse should be used twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then expectorate. Warm salt water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) can be used 4-5 times a day best after meals. This usually speeds up the healing and provides a comfortable feeling to your tissues. Brushing your teeth and the healing caps is not a problem with an ultra soft hand toothbrush. Be gentle with brushing the surgical areas. Do not use your electric toothbrush until healing has progressed enough and you are advised at our office to do so.
Sutures are expected to remain in place until you return to the office for you post-op visit. It is normal for dissolvable sutures to begin to melt before your first post-op visit and we will remove the remaining sutures as soon as they are ready to come out during your post op visits. If they being to melt do not be concerned you can use a cotton swab dipped in the prescribed mouth rinse to clean them gently. Be sure to gently clean food from between the teeth after meals. Let us know if you experience severe discomfort.
Swelling and bruising is common but comes with varying degrees depending on your procedure and postoperative care. The use of ice packs (on the day of surgery) will help diminish the swelling you would otherwise experience in the next 48-72 hours. Applying ice for 15-20 minutes followed by resting the same amount of time works very well. If you have 2 surgical sites alternate between them. Bruising may occur and is not unusual.
Drink plenty of fluids. Start with clear fluids and advance as you can tolerate them. Products like Gatorade, Boost and Ensure are good for most patients. Advance promptly to food that is warm not hot. Stay away from spicy foods. Also avoid sharp and crunchy foods like tacos, chips and nuts. Having food frequently and good nutrition after surgery will help your healing process.
If you had sedation for your procedure do not plan on driving or using any type of machinery for at least 24 hours. Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking your usual nourishment. This may weaken you further and limit your ability to exercise.
For a soft tissue graft our physicians typically use a surgical bandage on the donor site (the palate). Sometimes it is also used in the recipient site (grafted site).
If a surgical bandage was used, it is desirable for it to remain in place for 24 hours. Do not remove it; just let is come off when it is ready. If it does not come off, we will remove it during your post-operative visit. When the surgical bandage comes off, do not place it back in position. At that point begin cleaning the wound gently with a cotton swab dipped in the medicated mouth rinse prescribed.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Tobacco and alcohol should not be used. Smoking is an irritant and will decrease the benefits to you from surgery. It also will slow down the healing process. Alcohol should not be used in combination with pain medications and it also can inhibit the effectiveness of any antibiotics prescribed.